An enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center co-director is calling on U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren stop making a false claim that she has Native American ancestry.
On several occasions, President Donald Trump has mocked Warren, a former Harvard Law School professor, and a possible 2020 Democrat opponent if she wins reelection from Massachusetts this year, with the nickname “Pocahontas.”
To put this controversy in some context, political critics of Elizabeth Warren originally mocked her with the derisive “Fauxcahontas” (rather than Pocahontas) moniker, which is a play on words from the Senate election about six years ago.
In running against then-GOP Senator Scott Brown (who is now U.S. ambassador to New Zealand) in 2012, Elizabeth Warren maintained that she was 1/32 Cherokee based on Oklahoma family folklore, including that her grandfather had high cheekbones. No formal corroboration of this claim’s validity has ever emerged, however. There are persistent allegations that Warren nonetheless used her “minority” status to obtain important law teaching positions at several Ivy League universities under affirmative action.
In an appearance on Watters’ World on the Fox News Channel, the above-referenced Cherokee activist, Rebecca Nagle, provided this commentary about Elizabeth Warren.
“As a mixed Native woman, I get to relive the stereotypes that Warren perpetuates every day…I’m not ‘part-Cherokee,’ I am Cherokee. I’m a citizen of a federally recognized tribe. We are contemporary people. We have vibrant communities. We are not fractions of imagined Indians that used to exist. So what I would love to see Elizabeth Warren do is take responsibility for her false claim…there are a lot of people who are confused and think they are Cherokee when don’t have any Cherokee relatives…”
“A Cherokee genealogist traced her heritage to well before the time of the Trail of Tears, and she doesn’t have a single Cherokee ancestor,” Rebecca Nagle added. Warren also has ignored those Native Americans who have asked the senator to stop making such claims about her heritage, Nagle asserted.
In late January, the former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, which is based in Oklahoma, told the Boston Globe that Elizabeth Warren is “not part of the Cherokee community. She hasn’t reached out. She hasn’t come here and participated much.”
No fan of Trump, Rebecca Nagle described the president’s Pocahontas taunt as offensive because “the Powhatan princess is not the Disney character many people know. She said Pocahontas was kidnapped by English settlers and died at 21,” Fox News Insider reported.
Host Jesse Watters interrupted Nagle, a Democrat, before she could answer either way about whether she would vote for Elizabeth Warren in 2020 against Trump.
In November 2017, Rebecca Nagle authored an Op-Ed for the liberal/progressive Think Progress news site in which she wrote, in part, that “It appears that Warren categorized herself as a minority when it served her career and later dropped the marker after gaining tenure” and that “Sen. Warren needs to accept responsibility for misappropriating Native identity for her own economic and political gain.”
In 2016, a prominent Native American writer referred to Warren as a “Pretendian.” In 2012, Cherokee genealogist Twila Barnes asserted that no authentication existed for Warren’s purported Native American heritage.
In May 2012, The Atlantic, another liberal publication, declared in a detailed story that based on genealogical evidence, Warren was not eligible for membership in one of any three Cherokee tribes recognized by the U.S. government, but also insisted, however, that she never benefited in her professional career from claiming that heritage.
Parenthetically, an actual descendant of the real-life Pocahontas, Trump supporter Debbie “White Dove” Porreco, told Sky News in the U.K. last year that she took no offense from the president’s use of the term for Warren.
According to Boston journalist and radio talk show host Howie Carr, a Trump backer, Elizabeth Warren allegedly plagiarized two recipes that she submitted for publication in the 1984 Native American-themed cookbook titled Pow Wow Chow, Fox News Insider separately reported.
V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, Ph.D., an independent candidate for U.S. Senate from Massachusetts and an Indian-American, unsuccessfully challenged Elizabeth Warren last year to take a DNA test after gifting the senator a 23andMe genetic sampling kit as a birthday present.
Watch Rebecca Nagle discuss Elizabeth Warren’s disputed Cherokee ancestry in the clip below and draw your own conclusions.